One of the books on my fall “to read” list is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. He’s probably best known for his Chaos Walking series, and it sounds like A Monster Calls will have the same combination of compelling characters and thrilling situations. The story is actually based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, another excellent YA author who sadly passed away in 2007.
Check out an interview with Ness over at Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading. Here, he talks a little about the writing process for A Monster Calls and writing it based on Dowd’s original idea.
“I didn’t really have an outline for A Monster Calls and that’s kind of the thing that made it okay for me to write. I could take Siobhan’s idea and grow it naturally into its final shape (just like she would have done had she been able to finish it; though, inevitably, hers would have been a very different final shape and it’s truly a shame we’ll never see it). I think if you get to outline stage, the book is already written to a certain degree and may not be allowed to play and grow and change, like any story must do to live. So if I’d left behind just an idea, the ideal situation would be having a whole bunch of different people have a look at it, and see where their imaginations took them in all those different directions. That’d probably be the best result of all, and probably the most interesting to read.”
Even though, as Ness says, it’s a shame we’ll never get to see Dowd’s version of the story, I’m glad the idea didn’t disappear. It sounds like a compelling read!